Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is trying to answer a big question: Do we experience the world as it really is ... or as we need it to be? In this ever so slightly mind-blowing talk, he ponders how our minds construct reality for us. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, cognitive science, science, TED2015, 2015
Early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can improve the lives of everyone affected, but the complex network of causes make it incredibly difficult to predict. At TEDxPeachtree, Ami Klin describes a new early detection method that uses eye-tracking technologies to gauge babies' social engagement skills and reliably measure their risk of developing autism. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, TEDxFeatured, cognitive science, mental health, psychology, science, tedx,...
In this factual talk, geneticist Wendy Chung shares what we know about autism spectrum disorder — for example, that autism has multiple, perhaps interlocking, causes. Looking beyond the worry and concern that can surround a diagnosis, Chung and her team look at what we’ve learned through studies, treatments and careful listening. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, cognitive science, genetics, health, neuroscience, science, TED2014, 2014
Treo creator Jeff Hawkins urges us to take a new look at the brain -- to see it not as a fast processor, but as a memory system that stores and plays back experiences to help us predict, intelligently, what will happen next. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2003, TED, Talks, AI, brain, cognitive science, computers, intelligence, memory,...
Juan Enriquez challenges our definition of bioenergy. Oil, coal, gas and other hydrocarbons are not chemical but biological products, based on plant matter -- and thus, growable. Our whole approach to fuel, he argues, needs to change. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biodiversity, biotech, business, energy, science, technology, tedbooks,...
As manager of the Rosetta mission, Fred Jansen was responsible for the successful 2014 landing of a probe on the comet known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In this fascinating and funny talk, Jansen reveals some of the intricate calculations that went into landing the Philae probe on a comet 500 million kilometers from Earth — and shares some incredible photographs taken along the way. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, rocket science, science, space, technology, TED2015, 2015
How do babies learn so much from so little so quickly? In a fun, experiment-filled talk, cognitive scientist Laura Schulz shows how our young ones make decisions with a surprisingly strong sense of logic, well before they can talk. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, brain, children, cognitive science, mind, science, youth, TED2015, 2015
How do you remember where you parked your car? How do you know if you're moving in the right direction? Neuroscientist Neil Burgess studies the neural mechanisms that map the space around us, and how they link to memory and imagination. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDSalon London Spring 2011, TED, Talks, brain, cognitive science, exploration,...
Biologist Richard Dawkins makes a case for "thinking the improbable" by looking at how the human frame of reference limits our understanding of the universe. ( 1 reviews ) Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2005, TED, Talks, astronomy, biology, cognitive science, cosmos, evolution,...
Neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran outlines the fascinating functions of mirror neurons. Only recently discovered, these neurons allow us to learn complex social behaviors, some of which formed the foundations of human civilization as we know it. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, brain, cognitive science, evolution, neurology, science, TEDIndia...
Author George Dyson spins the story of Project Orion, a massive, nuclear-powered spacecraft that could have taken us to Saturn in five years. His insider’s perspective and a secret cache of documents bring an Atomic Age dream to life. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, NASA, future, history, physics, rocket science, science, space, storytelling,...
Why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive, so much less self-aware than grown-ups? Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults, to show us how typically “teenage” behavior is caused by the growing and developing brain. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, cognitive science, neuroscience, science, youth, TEDGlobal 2012, 2012
In this short talk, psychologist Dan Ariely tells two personal stories that explore scientific conflict of interest: How the pursuit of knowledge and insight can be affected, consciously or not, by shortsighted personal goals. When we're thinking about the big questions, he reminds us, let's be aware of our all-too-human brains. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, cognitive science, economics, medical research, science, technology,...
Did you know that you're 30 times more likely to laugh if you're with somebody else than if you're alone? Cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott shares this and other surprising facts about laughter in this fast-paced, action-packed and, yes, hilarious dash through the science of the topic. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, cognitive science, humor, neuroscience, science, TED2015, 2015
What does a disgusting image have to do with how you vote? Equipped with surveys and experiments, psychologist David Pizarro demonstrates a correlation between sensitivity to disgusting cues -- a photo of feces, an unpleasant odor -- and moral and political conservatism. (Filmed at TEDxEast.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, choice, cognitive science, morality, politics, psychology, science,...
Philosopher-comedian Emily Levine talks (hilariously) about science, math, society and the way everything connects. She's a brilliant trickster, poking holes in our fixed ideas and bringing hidden truths to light. Settle in and let her ping your brain. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2002, TED, Talks, cognitive science, comedy, entertainment, humor, philosophy,...
Working with a team of physicists, Dr. Deborah Rhodes developed a new tool for tumor detection that's 3 times as effective as traditional mammograms for women with dense breast tissue. The life-saving implications are stunning. So why haven't we heard of it? Rhodes shares the story behind the tool's creation, and the web of politics and economics that keep it from mainstream use. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDWomen, TED, Talks, business, cancer, medicine, science, technology, 2010
Ecologist Deborah Gordon studies ants wherever she can find them -- in the desert, in the tropics, in her kitchen ... In this fascinating talk, she explains her obsession with insects most of us would happily swat away without a second thought. She argues that ant life provides a useful model for learning about many other topics, including disease, technology and the human brain. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, insects, nature, science, TED2014, 2014
When a new drug gets tested, the results of the trials should be published for the rest of the medical world -- except much of the time, negative or inconclusive findings go unreported, leaving doctors and researchers in the dark. In this impassioned talk, Ben Goldacre explains why these unreported instances of negative data are especially misleading and dangerous. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, cancer, medicine, science, TEDMED 2012, 2012
Tissue engineer and TED Fellow Nina Tandon is growing artificial hearts and bones. To do that, she needs new ways of caring for artificially grown cells -- techniques she's developed by the simple but powerful method of copying their natural environments. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, biology, biomimicry, biotech, science, 2011
Ecologist Eric Berlow doesn't feel overwhelmed when faced with complex systems. He knows that more information can lead to a better, simpler solution. Illustrating the tips and tricks for breaking down big issues, he distills an overwhelming infographic on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan to a few elementary points. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, complexity, design, science, TEDGlobal 2010, 2010
Does science ruin the magic of life? In this grumpy but charming monologue, Robin Ince makes the argument against. The more we learn about the astonishing behavior of the universe -- the more we stand in awe. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, comedy, entertainment, science, TEDGlobal 2011, 2011
From deep in the TED archive, Danny Hillis outlines an intriguing theory of how and why technological change seems to be accelerating, by linking it to the very evolution of life itself. The presentation techniques he uses may look dated, but the ideas are as relevant as ever. Topics: TEDTalks, TED1994, TED, Talks, future, science, technology, 1994
Before life existed on Earth, there was just matter, inorganic dead "stuff." How improbable is it that life arose? And -- could it use a different type of chemistry? Using an elegant definition of life (anything that can evolve), chemist Lee Cronin is exploring this question by attempting to create a fully inorganic cell using a "Lego kit" of inorganic molecules -- no carbon -- that can assemble, replicate and compete. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2011, TED, Talks, biology, life, nanoscale, science, 2011
Many of those with severe speech disorders use a computerized device to communicate. Yet they choose between only a few voice options. That's why Stephen Hawking has an American accent, and why many people end up with the same voice, often to incongruous effect. Speech scientist Rupal Patel wanted to do something about this, and in this wonderful talk she shares her work to engineer unique voices for the voiceless. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, science, technology, TEDWomen 2013, 2013
Surgeons are taught from textbooks which conveniently color-code the types of tissues, but that's not what it looks like in real life -- until now. At TEDMED Quyen Nguyen demonstrates how a molecular marker can make tumors light up in neon green, showing surgeons exactly where to cut. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDMED 2011, TED, Talks, cancer, medicine, science, technology, 2011
What does it take to regrow bone in mass quantities? Typical bone regeneration -- wherein bone is taken from a patient’s hip and grafted onto damaged bone elsewhere in the body -- is limited and can cause great pain just a few years after operation. In an informative talk, Molly Stevens introduces a new stem cell application that harnesses bone’s innate ability to regenerate and produces vast quantities of bone tissue painlessly. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, biotech, medicine, science, technology, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
As founder of the Ig Nobel awards, Marc Abrahams explores the world’s most improbable research. In this thought-provoking (and occasionally side-splitting) talk, he tells stories of truly weird science -- and makes the case that silliness is critical to boosting public interest in science. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, humor, science, technology, TEDMED 2014, 2014
Nick Veasey shows outsized X-ray images that reveal the otherworldly inner workings of familiar objects -- from the geometry of a wildflower to the anatomy of a Boeing 747. Producing these photos is dangerous and painstaking, but the reward is a superpower: looking at what the human eye can't see. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, art, nature, photography, science, TEDGlobal 2009, 2009
While studying for his Ph.D in physics, Uri Alon thought he was a failure because all his research paths led to dead ends. But, with the help of improv theater, he came to realize that there could be joy in getting lost. A call for scientists to stop thinking of research as a direct line from question to answer, but as something more creative. It's a message that will resonate, no matter what your field. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, creativity, science, theater, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
Swiss artist and photographer Fabian Oefner is on a mission to make eye-catching art from everyday science. In this charming talk, he shows off some recent psychedelic images, including photographs of crystals as they interact with soundwaves. And, in a live demo, he shows what really happens when you mix paint with magnetic liquid--or when you set fire to whiskey. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, arts, photography, science, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
Eythor Bender of Berkeley Bionics brings onstage two amazing exoskeletons, HULC and eLEGS -- robotic add-ons that could one day allow a human to carry 200 pounds without tiring, or allow a wheelchair user to stand and walk. It's a powerful onstage demo, with implications for human potential of all kinds. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, design, science, technology, 2011
What is killing the Tasmanian devil? A virulent cancer is infecting them by the thousands -- and unlike most cancers, it's contagious. Researcher Elizabeth Murchison tells us how she's fighting to save the Taz, and what she's learning about all cancers from this unusual strain. Contains disturbing images of facial cancer. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2011, TED, Talks, animals, biology, cancer, science, 2011
Nature's mysteries meet tack-sharp wit in this hilarious, 10-minute mix of quips and fun lessons, as comedian, writer and TV man John Lloyd plucks at the substance of several things not seen. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, comedy, philosophy, science, TEDGlobal 2009, 2009
What's it like to be pals with a genius? Onstage, physicist Leonard Susskind spins a few stories about his friendship with the legendary Richard Feynman, discussing his unconventional approach to problems both serious and ... less so. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, culture, history, physics, science, storytelling, TEDxCaltech, 2011
In 1812, four men at Cambridge University met for breakfast. What began as an impassioned meal grew into a new scientific revolution, in which these men -- who called themselves “natural philosophers” until they later coined “scientist” -- introduced four major principles into scientific inquiry. Historian and philosopher Laura Snyder tells their intriguing story. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, history, science, storytelling, technology, TEDGlobal 2012, 2012
High school science teacher Tyler DeWitt was ecstatic about a lesson plan on bacteria (how cool!) -- and devastated when his students hated it. The problem was the textbook: it was impossible to understand. He delivers a rousing call for science teachers to ditch the jargon and extreme precision, and instead make science sing through stories and demonstrations. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, children, education, science, TEDxBeaconStreet, 2012
Imagine what we could learn about diseases by studying the history of human disease, from ancient hominids to the present. But how? TED Fellow Christina Warinner is an achaeological geneticist, and she's found a spectacular new tool -- the microbial DNA in fossilized dental plaque. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, evolution, medicine, paleontology, science, TED2012, 2012
How do we search for alien life if it's nothing like the life that we know? At TEDxUIUC Christoph Adami shows how he uses his research into artificial life -- self-replicating computer programs -- to find a signature, a 'biomarker,' that is free of our preconceptions of what life is. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, evolution, life, science, TEDxUIUC, 2011
Where are the baby dinosaurs? In a spellbinding talk from TEDxVancouver paleontologist Jack Horner describes how slicing open fossil skulls revealed a shocking secret about some of our most beloved dinosaurs. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDxVancouver, TED, Talks, biology, paleontology, science, 2010
With never-before-seen video, primatologist Isabel Behncke Izquierdo (a TED Fellow) shows how bonobo ape society learns from constantly playing -- solo, with friends, even as a prelude to sex. Indeed, play appears to be the bonobos' key to problem-solving and avoiding conflict. If it works for our close cousins, why not for us? Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, TED Fellows, science, 2011
Melissa Marshall brings a message to all scientists (from non-scientists): We're fascinated by what you're doing. So tell us about it -- in a way we can understand. In just 4 minutes, she shares powerful tips on presenting complex scientific ideas to a general audien Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, communication, engineering, science, TEDGlobal 2012, 2012
In this first-of-its-kind demo, Heather Knight introduces Data, a robotic stand-up comedian that does much more than rattle off one-liners -- it gathers audience feedback (using software co-developed with Scott Satkin and Varun Ramakrishna at CMU) and tunes its act as the crowd responds. Is this thing on? Topics: TEDTalks, TEDWomen, TED, Talks, comedy, entertainment, robots, science, technology, 2010
Taylor Wilson believes nuclear fusion is a solution to our future energy needs, and that kids can change the world. And he knows something about both of those: When he was 14, he built a working fusion reactor in his parents' garage. Now 17, he takes the TED stage at short notice to tell (the short version of) his story. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2012, TED, Talks, energy, science, technology, youth, 2012
The ocean has degraded within our lifetimes, as shown in the decreasing average size of fish. And yet, as Daniel Pauly shows us onstage at Mission Blue, each time the baseline drops, we call it the new "normal." At what point do we stop readjusting downward? Topics: TEDTalks, Mission Blue Voyage, TED, Talks, data, oceans, science, 2010
In a zippy demo at TED U, AnnMarie Thomas shows how two different kinds of homemade play dough can be used to demonstrate electrical properties -- by lighting up LEDs, spinning motors, and turning little kids into circuit designers. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, education, science, technology, 2011
In the 20th century we added an unprecedented number of years to our lifespans, but is the quality of life as good? Surprisingly, yes! At TEDxWomen psychologist Laura Carstensen shows research that demonstrates that as people get older they become happier, more content, and have a more positive outlook on the world. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, aging, culture, science, TEDxWomen 2011, 2011
Wolves were once native to the US' Yellowstone National Park -- until hunting wiped them out. But when, in 1995, the wolves began to come back (thanks to an aggressive management program), something interesting happened: the rest of the park began to find a new, more healthful balance. In a bold thought experiment, George Monbiot imagines a wilder world in which humans work to restore the complex, lost natural food chains that once surrounded us. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, animals, biodiversity, deextinction, science, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
Renowned paleontologist Jack Horner has spent his career trying to reconstruct a dinosaur. He's found fossils with extraordinarily well-preserved blood vessels and soft tissues, but never intact DNA. So, in a new approach, he's taking living descendants of the dinosaur (chickens) and genetically engineering them to reactivate ancestral traits — including teeth, tails, and even hands — to make a "Chickenosaurus". Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, genetics, paleontology, science, 2011
Philosopher John Searle lays out the case for studying human consciousness -- and systematically shoots down some of the common objections to taking it seriously. As we learn more about the brain processes that cause awareness, accepting that consciousness is a biological phenomenon is an important first step. And no, he says, consciousness is not a massive computer simulation. (Filmed at TEDxCERN.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, consciousness, philosophy, science, TEDxCERN, 2013